Make sure you can move
It sounds obvious, but it’s worth asking yourself why you want to sell your home and if the sale will get you what you want. Simon Shinerock, chairman of real estate agency Choices, says it’s worth checking out the area you’re thinking of moving to and speaking to a mortgage broker to make sure you can get financing for your next purchase. “Think about your linked purchase – does it fit together? [with your move]? Are you willing to move into a rental apartment if you’re not? says Shinerock. These are all things that can determine how you later feel about a buyer’s offer.
Make a good first impression
Once you’ve made up your mind to sell it, you should work to make your home look as representative as possible – even before you call in a real estate agent and find out how easy it will be to sell it and how much it will cost, then this will affect my perception of your property,” says Shinerock. “I wouldn’t invite anyone to my house without first taking care of it.”
He says: “People buy what they see” – interested parties want to be shown a property that they can mentally move into immediately.
A tidy appearance in front of your house isn’t just about tidying up the garden or weeding the path, says Sanel Konyar, an interior designer who runs Interior Kollection. “So does your front door and any accessories you add around that first point of contact with potential buyers.” Repainting a tired looking front door is a good place to start, as is fixing a broken gate – anything that needs fixing could be perceived by a potential buyer as a hassle or expense that they could forego.
“If your outdoor mat looks like it’s seen better days, remove and replace it. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to improve a buyer’s first impression, but it’s so often overlooked,” says Konyar. “If your front door has glass panels or a porch with glass in front of your front door, make sure the hallway is clutter-free and boots and shoes are put away.”
Talk to local real estate agents and see if they will make you an offer for the value of the property and their commission. A good place to start when choosing an agent is recommendations from friends who have recently moved. See which companies have a lot of boards (both sold and for sale). You can use real estate websites like Zoopla and Rightmove to get an insight into which agents are successfully selling homes in your area – tick sold in your search to see them. Get in touch and arrange a valuation of your home.
Choose an agent
After speaking to several real estate agents, you need to decide on one. Compare their commission, sales success, rating and where they advertise. You can pick the one you liked the most – good rapport is important – or your decision could be based on price or their recent success rate. If you like an agent but have been offered a better commission or shorter contract by another company, don’t be afraid to ask your favorite person if they can match. Agents are often willing to negotiate – especially when there are more buyers than houses on the market.
Resolve open issues
When you receive an offer, your buyer’s attorney will ask for all sorts of paperwork – you can avoid later delays by making sure you can get your hands on it now.
Alex Lyle of real estate agency Antony Roberts says there’s a long list of things you should prepare, including identification and documents related to any work you’ve done on your property. Paperwork you will need to provide includes building permits, building permits, FENSA certificates for replacement windows and doors, and a safety certificate for each new boiler – so pull them together now.
This gives you an opportunity to verify that there are no open issues that need to be resolved.
Position your team
Lyle says: “Too often properties come up and then there’s an unnecessary delay in everything that happens next. Usually this is because the seller has not engaged an attorney, or the attorney has been engaged but does not have the necessary information to provide the buyer’s attorney with.
Clare Andrews, a residential real estate partner at law firm Moore Barlow, says there are practical advantages to acting early. “In a competitive market, appointing an attorney as soon as possible not only sends a clear message to potential buyers that you are ready to proceed immediately, but also gives your attorney time to review title deeds and iron out anything that could cause a problem in the transaction. “
There is no harm in researching and selecting a conveyancing attorney before your property is on the market. Again, recommendations from friends are the best place to start. Otherwise, you can use the Law Society’s website to find a real estate specialist and read reviews for those nearby.
Decide on a price
Chances are you have an idea of what you want to get out of the sale – perhaps based on what you’ve seen at other properties in your neighborhood. According to Shinerock, this can be useful “if you live on a street where a lot of generic properties change hands regularly,” but if your home differs in any way from those of your neighbors, you could be misled.
Think about what the agents suggested, but keep in mind that some operate on high volume and are therefore undervalued to sell quickly – but that won’t get you top dollar.
If you start too high, there is a risk that being forced to lower the price of your property can give potential buyers the impression that something is wrong with your home.
Lyle says don’t get too carried away when deciding what to charge: “It’s better to come out a little lower, generate more interest, and let people bid each other up to your desired price and that feeling like they really won.”
Keep order …
Stay indoors as uncluttered as possible to see the agent’s photos and viewings. Samantha Agbontaen, the founder of Housedesigner.net, says sellers should avoid having too much furniture “and drastically reduce the free walking space.” Your home will feel bigger when people can move around without having to squeeze past your stuff, so it might be worth putting some things away. If you have an attic or a waterproof shed, you can store things in there. If not, it may be worth paying for storage for a few weeks to maximize the price you get for your home.
… but not too neat
“If your home is too minimalist, it can feel clinical and uninviting to potential buyers,” says Konyar. She suggests using throws, pillows and rugs to make sure it feels like home.
Think about who might buy your home and whether your decor will appeal to them. If you’re planning on repainting rooms, choose neutral colors and use accessories to add a little character.